As shopping habits have changed over recent years, high streets have had to adapt and evolve. With the continuing rise of online shopping and the after effects on city centres of the pandemic, it takes something special to bring shoppers out. Thankfully, Leeds has an abundance of places that are exactly that: specialists. These experts in their field are proving that knowledge and passion are as in demand now as they have ever been, and with service and skill are attracting folk to Leeds city centre to experience their unique qualities. Here are six of the best specialist shops to visit.
Spectacle specialists Cubitts have a keen eye for style. This modern British brand complete their first decade this year, and have quickly established themselves as masters of their craft. As eyewear experts, Cubitts create handcrafted frames the traditional way, resulting in a range that are classic and progressive, practical and beautiful. The Leeds store in County Arcade is fittingly handsome, and here you’ll receive an expert service to choose your favourite new glasses or sunglasses. There are even bespoke designs, including a trio of Leeds inspired frames; whichever you go for, through the lens of Cubitts, you’ll be seeing well and looking good.
West Yorkshire Cameras
Leeds’ spectacular Grand Arcade is filled with specialist independent stores, and West Yorkshire Cameras have been a perfect fit since arriving there in 2019. Having moved home from the Corn Exchange, West Yorkshire Cameras celebrates its tenth year by continuing to provide the best knowledge, service and stock of analogue cameras. The shop is a charming step into the past with a vital view of the future, as a large proportion of photographers still use film. It’s equally welcoming to newcomers too, so whether you’re a novice or an enthusiast, take a shot on West Yorkshire Cameras.
The quintessential guitar shop, Northern Guitars have been riffing on their passion for over three decades. The first floor store on Call Lane trades quality second hand guitars to obsess over and strum on. From the affordable to the collectible, this is the place to go for music nerds and guitar beginners alike. And with their own bar downstairs that complements the vintage vibes, there’s even more reason to enjoy a trip to Northern Guitars.
The story of Fred Aldous dates back to 1886 when the man himself set up business. Having sold craft products for over a century, the modern day Fred Aldous store on Kirkgate oozes such experience and expertise in a fresh and vibrant environment which invites in all ages and tastes to browse their impressive extensive range of specialist stock. Here you’ll find arts and crafts, haberdashery, models and gifts; they’re unique and inventive, useful and beautiful, creative and comfortable.
A long time favourite for fans of comic books, magazines and graphic novels, OK Comics is everything a specialist store should be. Run with a great passion for the subject and a deep knowledge, the Thornton’s Arcade shop is friendly and welcoming to all experiences, from comic book collectors to superhero kids. There are bargains to browse, rarities to discover and subscriptions to order; from local artists to global phenomenons, OK Comics is a marvel.
Also in Thornton’s Arcade is another shop which exudes its love for their subject and has become a hub for the many people who share it. At Welcome, it’s skateboarding and all that goes with it; that means a relaxed and vibrant store of skateboards, equipment, clothing and footwear from the best brands of the genre. And as the name suggests, everyone entering their specialist skate world will always receive a warm welcome.
Photos: Cubitts, West Yorkshire Cameras, Fred Aldous, Welcome Skate Store